writing

For when you fall off the wagon (because you will)

There will come a time in your art, your work, or more generally in your life where you will look up and realize things need to change. You'll know you've hit this point by the general discomfort you feel, the nagging sense that something isn't right. Many of us have a sense, for some even a vivid picture of where we're headed. We know how the story ends. The tough part can be playing the course in the way that leads there.

Typically we don't fall off the wagon all at once. It happens through small decisions over time. We choose to sleep in instead of write, to eat out instead of cook, we skip the gym. It's unique to each of us, but it's a matter of neglecting those actions that truly make you feel the way you want to feel. The summer can be particularly tough because at any given time there's something appealing to do and unlike the winter you might actually enjoy leaving your house.

What do you do when you recognize you're off track, you're feeling lost? First be gentle with yourself. This is an easy spot to beat yourself up at for not getting it right. Instead be gentle, remind yourself that you're still learning and that sometimes these detours propel you in new and unexpected ways. Get quiet. Have a nap, do yoga, go for a walk, whatever relaxes and calms you. Just take a small break, in my experience, clarity comes in those moments where your head is clear. Then refocus. From this gentle, quiet place you have a chance to see what needs to change. You can take an honest look at what led you astray and why you needed that. Then slowly begin reincorporating the things that truly make you feel good and eliminating those that drain you. 

Forgive yourself for not always getting it right. I'm messing up, I'm learning, I'm lost. But aren't we all? From day to day? Just lost and putting on a brave face and doing our best? I can't be alone in that because life's too hard to always get it right.